Greece dismisses suggestion it may rethink 12-mile territorial water claims in Aegean Sea

Officials reiterate Athens's determination to extend territorial waters despite Turkey's objections

2022-01-17 17:43:29


Greek officials have dismissed remarks by a former senior official that it could backtrack on plans to extend its territorial waters claim in the Aegean Sea to 12 nautical miles, according to local media.

Following recent remarks by Christos Rozakis, a former alternate foreign minister and seasoned expert in international law at University of Athens, that Athens could negotiate its claims with neighboring Turkey, which rejects the idea of 12-mile territorial waters in favor of the current six. Greek diplomatic sources who spoke to the daily ToVima on Sunday reiterated Greece's determination to extend its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.

Rozakis had recently spoken to state broadcaster ERT, arguing that Athens could discuss the issue of territorial waters with Ankara.

Asserting that the scope of the territorial waters was subject to dialogue, he proposed that it would be reasonable for Greece to consider the possibility of negotiating an extension of territorial waters to 8 or 10 nautical miles.

In August 2021, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the government was planning to submit a bill to double its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea.

He added that Greece could also extend territorial waters in other maritime areas in the future.

In the mid-1990s, Greece had attempted to extend its territorial waters in the Aegean Sea to 12 nautical miles but scuttled the plan after Turkey declared that such a move would be a casus belli, or cause for war.

Turkey, which has the longest continental coastline in the Eastern Mediterranean, has rejected the maritime boundary claims of Greece and the Greek Cypriot administration, stressing that the excessive claims violate the sovereign rights of both Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots.

Turkish leaders have repeatedly stressed that Ankara is in favor of resolving all outstanding problems in the region, including maritime disputes, through international law, good neighborly relations, dialogue, and negotiations.